Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The 'idea' Wall Street is all about a free market system is a myth.

The practices of Monsanto and its hold on American agriculture proves that.

Nebraska is one of the states seeking a new Senator this November.

The state is not usually a topic of conversation in the USA. 

The name is not sincerely American, it is Native American. It means flat water.

Few people, even citizens of Nebraska, stop to appreciate the fact the entire state is interlaced with rivers. The primary river system is the Platte River. The North and South Platte join to create the Platte River. The Platte runs roughly through the bottom third of the state, but, the entire state contains tributaries throughout its borders.

Nebraska is the heart of the Plains States. This is where westward settlers found soil yielding larger than expected crops. It is also a state where water was abundant and towns sprung up along them.

From the Library of Congress:

Prairie Settlement: Nebraska Photographs and Family Letters, 1862-1912 (click here)

Homesteading is what it was called. Settlers went westward and built homes while claiming land to make a living. The rivers served as transportation as well. It was easy for Nebraskans to move their goods to market from one end of a river to the other. Nebraska's history is America. It is where pioneering built the state and the food source for a nation.

Sometimes ignored in the history of many of the western states is the migration of African Americans to the west. The Great Migration which started in the early 1900s brought growth and development to Omaha. The city was incorporated in 1854 which would see an influx of its first black settlers. There was segregation and due to that there wasn't much representation in the government, but, it was the African Americans of Omaha that organized the first Fair for African-American exhibitors and attendees. Today the city has about 20% black Americans as their populous.

The dam broke in regard to race relations and diversity in government in Nebraska with the election of Matthew Oliver Ricketts. He was the first in his family to be born outside slavery, graduate as a physician from University of Nebraska College of Medicine and then elected to the Nebraska state legislature for two terms. His election was in 1892 on the Republican ticket.

Oh, by the way, Omaha is the largest city in Nebraska and 43rd in the nation, I think.

Just for the record, the Platte River joins the Missouri River at the Nebraska border. 

Yes, I have been to Nebraska and yes with my two sons. I do not lie. It is a rustic farm state and we loved it. It was the first place we ate biscuits and gravy for breakfast ever in our lives.

Nebraska also has some beautiful fall colors in their trees. This is the home of The National Arbor Day Foundation (click here). Arbor Day was first celebrated here. It is easy to love the land and the environment in Nebraska, it is part of the state's heritage and culture.

We traveled through Nebraska during the summer, but, one of the longest lasting memories was that of the silos. This picture is a set of Nebraska silos in the wintertime after the crops have been harvested and stored inside them.

They are a part of the beloved history of the state. 

ConAgra (click here) has been one of the largest industries in Nebraska and Omaha. ConAgra is the nation's largest producer of flour. WHEAT. ConAgra is the nation's largest flour mill. They also produce a whole chickens used in the American diet and they also produce chemicals for crop production.

There are five Fortune 500 companies in Nebraska, Berkshire-Hathaway was ranked 7th in the year 2012.

Union Pacific was ranked 143 out of 500 with revenues of $19.5 billion of which stockholders saw 16% return on their investment in 2011. Union Pacific is a very successful railroad.

ConAgra was ranked number 215. Peter Kiewit Sons was ranked 255 with revenues of over $10 billion of which 5.5% was pure profit to the company.

And last but hardly least with a ranking of 411 is Mutual of Omaha Insurance. They had revenues of $5.9 billion of which 2.2% was profit.

Kansas has a durable fiscal infrastructure. These are companies that have been around for a long time, almost as long as the farming heritage itself. I would think with that much fiscal density in Wall Street, both stocks and commodities, Nebraskans would be looking for a level headed Democrat to protect them from some hideous crash again.

Of course the real beauty of Nebraska besides the people and their lifestyles and heritage is the fact all the industry in the state seems to 'fit together' so well. Farmer's grain, railroad cars and processing plants that receive the grain and also export the products for revenue to the state. it is rather interesting to think about. There is no waste in Nebraska. Everything fits and everything works.

In the past one of the largest growth industries was the service industry and primarily the public sector. The pension funds in Nebraska are considerable. They are also invested. 

December 14, 2011

Andrew G. Biggs

Public Sector Pensions in Nebraska (click here)

The American Enterprise Institute published the study of Nebraska pensions above. The AEI prides itself on research of policy, including public policy. They claim to believe the American Dream should be accessible to all Americans.

The article below was published 19 minutes ago. To say Republicans have abandoned Nebraska is an under estimate of the mood of farmers there.

Officials looking for ways to heal drought wounds (click here)

...Growing conditions were about as good as they could be at the start of the growing season, he told an audience at Omaha’s City County Building. Then …  they weren’t.
“Mother Nature decided it was too good to be true,” he said.
Omaha hosted the first of four regional workshops. The daylong event and others to follow in Arkansas, Colorado and Ohio are meant to identify resources that can help with recovery from a drought of record proportions.
In the absence of a farm bill and the emergency boost it could give to livestock producers, the most compelling moment of the opening session might have come when Vilsack pressed weather forecaster Doug Kluck on prospects for relief during the next 90 days.
Kluck, based with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Kansas City, couldn’t deliver the answer everybody wanted to hear....
Wheat is not the primary crop of farmers in Nebraska, corn is. Wheat is a cover crop, 'sorta.' It is planted to 'winter over' and be an early harvest as a 'cash crop' before the corn is planted.

Posted: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 4:00 pm | Updated: 12:57 pm, Tue Oct 9, 2012.

LINCOLN (AP) — Planting a crop is always a risk, (click here) but Nebraska farmers may be taking a bigger gamble than usual this year as they plant winter wheat amid continuing drought.
Nearly 89 percent of Nebraska is in extreme or exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor compiled by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
That means farmers who plant now may not have enough field moisture for winter wheat to sprout. But those who wait for rain risk a killing frost before wheat roots can withstand the cold, experts told the Lincoln Journal Star....
Whatever happened to the days of "plant from fence post to fence post," huh?

Nebraska Governor Heineman has focused on education as a means for job creation and growth.

Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 2:00 am | Updated: 11:05 pm, Thu Oct 4, 2012.

Cesar Chavez from The Fight in the Fields

Whoever thought migrant farm workers could ever be organized to promote their rights and dignity?

The Fight in the Fields, Cesar Chavez and the Farm Workers Struggle (click here)

In this PBS documentary Cesar Chavez is stated to be the most important Latino leader in the United States. It is true. What he accomplished was nothing short of incredible. He brought recognition to the substandard living and working conditions of Hispanic American farm workers in California and Florida.

The living conditions of these forgotten Americans were subhuman. The housing, if any were available, was a shack where they could get out of the sun and sleep with some shelter, but, it was never a home. The people were considered derelict and unworthy of esteem. The workers were basically homeless. Their work was extremely difficult, long hours but one of the most vital needs for labor in the USA. These workers fed the nation, while their children had few rations on a daily basis.

12:14AM EST October 9. 2012 - President Obama traveled (click here) to Southern California on Monday to announce the establishment of a national monument to the Mexican-American union organizer César Chávez, while offering Hispanic voters a subtle nudge less than a month before Election Day.
While the trip to Keene, Calif., to pay tribute to the founder of the United Farm Workers was technically official White House business, it also helped magnify Obama's outreach efforts to the Hispanic community. It is an important voting bloc whose turnout could be crucial to his chances in the battleground states of Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina and Virginia....
It was an honor for President Obama to be with Hispanic Americans today in recognition of Cesar Chavez. It was convenient there is a Presidential election this year, but, he would have been there anyway.
This was the second time this year a monument was dedicated to great minority leaders. Today is was Chavez and in the recent past Dr. King. This has been an incredible year for the President overseeing the recognition of great and benevolent people in the minority communities. 
President Obama lays a rose at the grave of Cesar Chavez, with his widow Helen Chavez, during a tour of a memorial garden at the Chavez National Monument.(Photo: Brendan Smialowski, AFP/Getty Images)

Cesar Chavez' grave is marked by a simple cross.

"Every time somebody's son or daughter comes and learns about the history of this movement," Obama said, "I want them to know that our journey is never hopeless, our work is never done."
He also said: "Our world is a better place because Cesar Chavez decided to change it. Let us honor his memory. But most importantly, let's live up to his example."
Whether the Dreamers realize it or not, there roots for equality, education and health began with the movement to bring dignity to Hispanic labor. It is that reality which makes the Arizona laws so egregious.

...The justices (click here) struck down three other parts of the law:
- One making it a crime for an illegal immigrant to work or to seek work in Arizona;
- One which authorized state and local officers to arrest people without a warrant if the officers have probable cause to believe a person is an illegal immigrant;
- And one that made it a state requirement for immigrants to register with the federal government.
The Arizona laws were a regression in time and an insult to the progress Hispanics made in the USA.
I thank President Obama for commemorating this great American today. I am confident the ceremony would not have achieved the depth without him. I congratulate the Hispanic community on this great achievement and recognition. Perhaps, now, they will finally be considered as much a part of the USA as the first settlers.